Airbus steers steady course throughout stable first half

Aircraft manufacturer, Airbus, which employs around 5,000 staff at its wing-making plant in Broughton, near Chester, has released half year figures which show that, during the six months to June 30, 2022, the group’s revenues and earnings were broadly stable.

Revenues of €24.8bn compared with €24.6bn in 2021.

Adjusted EBIT was €2.645bn, against €2.703b a year ago. Adjusted earnings before interest and tax is an alternative performance measure and key indicator capturing the underlying business margin by excluding material charges or profits caused by movements in provisions related to programmes, restructuring or foreign exchange impacts as well as capital gains/losses from the disposal and acquisition of businesses.

Gross commercial aircraft orders increased to 442 (H1 2021: 165 aircraft) with net orders of 259 aircraft after cancellations (H1 2021: 38 aircraft).

The order backlog amounted to 7,046 commercial aircraft on June 30, 2022. Airbus Helicopters booked 163 net orders (H1 2021: 123 units), including 14 Super Puma Family and in the first quarter it was awarded the contract for the Tiger MkIII attack helicopter upgrade programme.

Airbus Defence and Space’s order intake by value increased to €6.5bn (H1 2021: €3.5bn). Second quarter orders included the contract to deliver 20 latest generation Eurofighter jets to the Spanish Air Force.

The company is now aiming to deliver around 700 commercial aircraft in 2022. It maintains its target of around €5.5bn of adjusted EBIT and around €3.5bn of free cash flow before mergers and acquisitions and customer financing in 2022.

Guillaume Faury, Airbus chief executive, said: “Airbus delivered a solid H1 2022 financial performance in a complex operating environment, with the geopolitical and economic situation creating further uncertainties for the industry.

“The supply chain challenges are leading us to adjust the A320 family ramp-up steps in 2022 and 2023, and we now target a monthly rate of 65 in early 2024. Our aircraft delivery target for 2022 has been updated accordingly.

“The earnings and free cash flow guidance are maintained, underpinned by the H1 financials.”

Guillaume Faury

He added: “The Airbus teams are engaged with suppliers and partners to ramp up towards an A320 family monthly production rate of 75 in 2025, backed by strong customer demand.”

In May this year Airbus said it would create up to 550 jobs at Broughton, as part of a £100m investment. Broughton makes all the wings for the group’s commercial aircraft.

The group said it could create hundreds more jobs for the factory if it wins a tender for a new type of helicopter for the UK Ministry of Defence.

In May the MoD formally invited tenders for 44 New Medium Helicopters (NMH), to replace its current fleet of Puma helicopters, from the middle of the decade.

Airbus said it believes the Airbus H175M helicopter is fully capable of fulfilling the UK’s needs.

It said if its tender bid for the contract is successful it “would seek to establish a H175M Final Assembly Line in an existing facility on the commercial wing manufacturing plant’s footprint at Broughton. We would also transfer a number of key high value component manufacturing capabilities to the UK supply chain.”